Article 91 -“Any warrant officer or enlisted member who— (1) strikes or assaults a warrant officer, non-commissioned officer, or petty officer, while that officer is in the execution of his office; (2) willfully disobeys the lawful order of a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer; or (3) treats with contempt or is disrespectful in language or deportment toward a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer while that officer is in the execution of his office; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
” Article 91 of the Uniform code of justice (UCMJ) is insubordinate conduct toward warrant officer, Noncommissioned Officer (NCO), or Petty Officer. Article 91 of the UCMJ defines insubordination and failure to obey order and regulation. Military discipline and effectiveness is built on the foundation of obedience to orders given by senior leadership or grades appointed over you. It’s not insubordinate conduct if the order given is unethical or illegal; neither is refusing to perform an order that is within the power of the person giving the order.
Many superiors feel that the line of verbal contempt can be broken on many different levels. One can only assume that foul language, and language that may impose threat, violence or outright disobedience will ultimately fall in to the category of verbal contempt and disorderly language. A simple verbal disagreement with no foul language or violent intent can be considered as verbal contempt and or disorderly language to the NCO.
An enlisted member can be subject to being punished by this article just on the superior’s thoughts on whether or not the accused was in verbal contempt. So in the case of a disagreement between two individuals, where one Marine says something and the next Marine another, it is what is perceived as the truth that becomes the truth. This can be troubling to some service members due to the fact if they have nothing to back their story; it can be assumed they are lying.
Even if this is the case, until proven otherwise it will be assumed you have lied and will face punishment accordingly. In conclusion the purpose of Article 91 is to establish a set of rules and respect for all service members to adhere to. This creates a better work atmosphere and helps create the needed separation between superiors and subordinates. Without the separation between the service members the system could never function accordingly.